Questions regarding the attractive force which exists between any two bodies of matter.

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19
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3answers
4k views

What's the fastest moving object in the universe?

We know that nothing can have proper velocities larger than the speed of light in vacuum. But are there any objects in space that get close to it? Any comets, or other objects thrown by gravity or ...
14
votes
3answers
646 views

Do all the objects in the universe exert force on all other objects?

Do all the objects in the universe exert force on all other objects? Like a type of gravity; also, how much does it decrease as it gets farther away?
13
votes
4answers
184 views

What is Gravitational Lensing?

What is the effect known as gravitational lensing? How does it work? What objects would be able to cause this effect?
13
votes
4answers
482 views

Doesn't gravity attract objects in space until they collide?

If the formula to calculate the force of gravity of two objects is: $$F1 = F2 = G * (M1 * M2/r^2)$$ Why do planets stay in orbit? Or is there another formula at work?
12
votes
3answers
337 views

Does a planet's mass or gravity affect the height of it's mountains?

According to this Wikipedia page, the top five highest mountains on Mars (and the highest on Venus) are all taller than Mount Everest (and Mauna Kea as measured from the ocean floor). Does a planet's ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?

According to The NASA Moon Facts page: The moon is actually moving away from earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. Why is the moon moving further away from the Earth? Is this a result of the ...
10
votes
3answers
427 views

How do we know that the speed of the influence of gravity is instant?

When I was in college, I posed to my astronomy professor a thought experiment that had been puzzling my mind for some time: "If the sun magically disappeared, instantly, along with all its influences, ...
9
votes
5answers
184 views

Orbiting around a black hole

Is it possible (for either a satellite or a planet) to orbit around a black hole? Do they attract everything around themselves into the center? Or they just affect gravitational force just like stars? ...
9
votes
1answer
303 views

Determining effect of small variable force on planetary perihelion precession

Is there an analytical technique for determining the effect of a small variable transverse acceleration upon the rate of aspides precession (strictly not a precession but rotation of the line of ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

What was the length of year 1 million years back?

We know that the universe is gradually expanding and this indirectly means that the gravitational force between sun, earth, planets and other stars (roughly anything in the universe) is gradually ...
8
votes
2answers
201 views

Will saturn rings become a moon?

Planets form from disks of matter orbiting around a star as well as some moons form from disks of matter orbiting a planet. If this is going to happen, aproximately how much time will it take?
8
votes
1answer
135 views

Parking a telescope at a Lagrange point: is this a good idea from a debris point of view?

The James Webb space telescope is supposed to be located at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point. Do we expect the region around that point to have a higher concentration of space debris, asteroids, ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between our time and space time?

I am trying to understand the phenomenon of space-time. But, everything on internet seems to be too complicated for me since I do not have a background in physics. Can anyone give me simple ...
7
votes
2answers
294 views

Why haven't Earth and Venus got any tiny moons? Or have they?

Why haven't some meteoroids gotten caught in Earth's or Venus' orbit? AFAIK most meteors are tiny fragments from comets. Shouldn't some comet tail sometime have passed Earth orbit at velocities ...
7
votes
1answer
106 views

Is it safer to be near a star or a black hole?

If a star or black hole neared the solar system, which would do the least damage? For the sake of a good comparison, lets assume the candidate star is an "average" 5 solar mass star, and the black ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

Dark Flow: statistical limits on existence

Dark Flow has been thrown around as a term a lot lately, especially with the latest Planck results. New Scientist reported last year that it was now statistically improbable, but the paper by Atrio ...
6
votes
3answers
105 views

Can you explain the pattern of Hill sphere sizes of the objects of the Solar system?

I found this image on calculations of Hill sphere for planets/dwarf planets of the Solar system. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hill_sphere_of_the_planets.png I found it interesting that ...
6
votes
3answers
422 views

How does a gravity slingshot actually work?

From what I know of elliptical orbits, an object speeds up near the periapsis and slows down at the apoapsis, much like we learned in high school physics how a sphere would roll down and back up a ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

How does gravity affect the wavelength of light?

If, hypothetically, me and my rocket powered flashlight were falling straight toward the center of a black hole. The flashlight is a few kilometers behind me in our travels toward the center of the ...
5
votes
3answers
179 views

Does gravity slow or speed light up?

The speed of light in a vacuum is presumably the fastest speed possible. if gravity bends the course of light, does this imply that gravity the retards light so it is moving at a slower speed? If ...
5
votes
4answers
384 views

Does the gravity of the planets affect the orbit of other planets in our solar system?

When one planet passes near another during its trip around the sun, does their gravitational pull is strong enough to disrupt noticeably each other's orbit ?
5
votes
4answers
153 views

Using the Sun as a Gravitational Lens

Can the Sun be used as a gravitational lens to achieve better telescopic viewing? Can this effect be practically used to view celestial objects?
5
votes
2answers
134 views

Has someone looked the other way?

I learned that gravity always pulls, it is always attractive. There is no antigravity, no "negative" mass. I also learned that most matter is dark, invisible. We know that because we see visible ...
5
votes
1answer
197 views

Exercise: 2D orbital mechanics simulation (python)

Just a little disclaimer beforehand: I have never studied astronomy or any exact sciences for that matter (not even IT), so I am trying to fill this gap by self-education. Astronomy is one of the ...
5
votes
2answers
151 views

Why do we have the cosmological constant?

Since the cosmological constant is not required to explain that the universe seem to be expanding, why do we have it? What other factors cause us to have that constant? Background: Without the ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Are there any alternative explanations for the gravitational force we attribute to dark matter?

It always seemed counter-intuitive to me that we observed an measured a gravitational force and since the universe has not enough mass to account for it, the conclusion was to say there's a different ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

What Is The Great Attractor?

I've heard that there is something called the Great Attractor which seems to have some kind of gravitational influence on objects in the Universe. Is this some kind of theoretical notion posited in ...
4
votes
2answers
281 views

Will Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into supernova?

Ive read on some sites and saw on youtube videos that the moon is getting away from earth by 1-3 cm a year. Is this enough to make the Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into Supernova? Im ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

How does light affect the universe?

When light is emitted by for example a star, that star loses energy - which causes it to reduce its gravity. Then that energy begins a journey for potentially billions of years, until it reaches some ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

From what distance can one object influence gravity of another object?

Each object in the universe has its own gravitational influence on all other objects in the universe. What distance do they have to be from each other to create only one gravitational influence? ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

What is the difference between Sphere of Influence and Hill sphere?

Wikipedia's definition of Hill sphere is: An astronomical body's Hill sphere is the region in which it dominates the attraction of satellites. To be retained by a planet, a moon must have an orbit ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Maximum Amplitude of a Lissajous Orbiting Object in a L4 or L5 Position

I stumbled on The Lagrangian points during some wikipedia reading. After looking at the gravity contours, I naturally come to the conclusion that the L4 & L5 should have a wave pattern and then ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

What's the smallest scale at which dark matter has been measured?

What is the smallest scale at which we have detected "dark matter" (more kinetic energy than would be predicted)? If you don't mind indulging a follow-up: Would its detection on smaller scales be ...
3
votes
4answers
288 views

Why don't we feel the speed of earth moving

When we move our vehicle, we "feel" the speed of it. However, when stationary, we still are moving,but moving by quiet a speed. We know that earth moves with X ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

If the moon still had a magnetic field how long would have been possible to keep an atmosphere?

Let's assume the Moon had a considerable magnetic field to prevent the atmosphere dispersion caused by solar wind. Given the low gravity of the Moon, how many years would pass before all the gases (of ...
3
votes
1answer
250 views

Would time go by infinitely fast when crossing the event horizon of a black hole?

If you were to fall into a black hole, my understanding is that from your reference point, time would speed up (looking out to the rest of the universe), approaching infinity when approaching the ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Are black holes orbiting around each other?

Obviously, bodies with low gravity force orbit around another one with higher gravity force, if they are close enough to each other. Is it true also for objects like black holes? Are they even able ...
3
votes
4answers
334 views

If the hammer and feather move at the same speed why do comet and the tail particles move at different speeds?

From this exhibition by an astronaut on the moon dropping a hammer and a feather and showing they move at the same speed, why do the particles of the comets tail move away from the comet, slow down ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Dark Energy Expansion

The new Cosmos extra features mentions that at about 6,771,500,000 years ago the universe began an accelerated expansion. How do we know this? What evidence do we have for this renewed and accelerated ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

What is the optimal escape trajectory from near a black hole?

Consider a space ship that is being drawn closer to a black hole. The crew begins to notice the effects, and discovers that they are nearing the black hole. They then manage to halt their ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

How can I calculate the orbital periods in a binary star system?

I have two stars, with known masses and known orbital radius. How do I calculate the orbital periods of both stars?
3
votes
2answers
76 views

Does gravity propagate?

Gravity is sometimes described as a curvature in space-time. Due to relativity, doesn't this imply that gravity doesn't propagate? A thought experiment. If you are moving toward a black hole, this ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Sattelite's orbit

What is the maximum distance for a satellite to orbit the earth? Does earth's gravity has the impact on satellite? I do know that earth's gravity will never be zero and it's gravity is inversely ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

How massive does a planet need to be to create gravitational lensing?

Is it ever possible for starlight to be distorted in a noticeable way from something as small as a planet? I'm guessing that the chances of this working are better on a dense terrestrial planet than ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

What is gravity really?

What is gravity? I want to know more than it being simply the "mysterious force" that attracts things to earth. Is it a particle, a wave, or something else entirely?
3
votes
1answer
165 views

What would happen if a body were to fall into a neutron star?

We know neutron stars as a very massive object with extremely strong gravitational forces that composes mostly of neutrons. I couldn't help but wonder, what would happen if an object fell into a ...
2
votes
5answers
204 views

Could light be dark matter?

Is it possible that light itself is dark matter? I am speaking of photons (e.g. visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, etc...). I realize light is understood to be massless, but it is obvious it at ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

any unique phenomenon when the cores of two planets are aligned with their star's core?

Imagine a line passing through the cores of two planets (in the same planetary system) and their star. Have we ever witnessed this - either with both planets on the same side of the star or on ...
2
votes
2answers
404 views

What would happen if Jupiter and Earth were at the same distance as the Moon is from Earth?

If Spock came with a super machine capable of moving planets, and placed Earth so close to Jupiter as the Earth's moon, the gravity of Jupiter would make us fall into it?
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Where is a Hollow Object's Center of Gravity? [closed]

Let's imagine that the Earth's moon is hollow. Given this scenario, where would its center of gravity be? What would the conditions be like at the center? Also would one still be able to stand on the ...